Science-policy in action: the role of European forests
13 October 2015, Brussels

Towards Paris 2015: How can the forest sector contribute?

The global negotiations on climate agreement (COP21) will take place in Paris in December 2015, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. In earlier COP negotiations the importance of forests in mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration has been well acknowledged, and forest issues have played an important role in the negotiations.

The EU’s vision for tackling climate change beyond 2020 was announced in February 2015. The Paris Protocol – A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020, was announced alongside the EU’s Energy Union strategy. The Road to Paris Communication spells out Europe’s intended climate contribution: a domestic 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40%. For the first time, this will also incorporate emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

The 2030 EU climate and energy framework aims to secure Europe’s energy supply and tackle climate change through the transition to a low-carbon, climate-friendly economy. The 2030 framework sets targets of

  • a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels
  • at least a 27% share of renewable energy consumption
  • at least 27% energy savings compared with the business-as-usual scenario

The European Commission held a consultation from March-June 2015 on how to address greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and LULUCF in the context of the 2030 EU climate and energy framework.

More information

EFI’s Sustainability and Climate Change Programme is a source of knowledge on the current and future role of European forests in climate change mitigation.

Questions and answers on the European Commission Communication: The Paris Protocol – A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020.


ThinkForest in the forest: biodiversity and forest management

Integrating forest biodiversity with forest management

Integrate+ is a demonstration project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) to establish a European network of demonstration sites for the integration of biodiversity conservation into forest management. It builds on a partner network from research and practice with a focus on the implementation of integrative management and transnational exchange of experiences. The network is accompanied by the development of mobile training software applications which will allow the performance of virtual tree selection exercises under different scenarios and forest management strategies.

EU nature and biodiversity policy

The EU-wide Natura 2000 network of nature protection areas is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. Established under the 1992 Habitats Directive, it aims to ensure the sustainability of the most valuable and threatened species and habitats in Europe in the long term. Nearly 50% of Natura 2000 habitat sites are forests.

The European Union is currently carrying out a Fitness Check of EU Nature Legislation (Birds and Habitats Directives), of which Natura 2000 is an important part. The Fitness Check is a comprehensive policy evaluation aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is ‘fit for purpose’.

A public Internet consultation was held from April to July 2015 to gather opinions on current EU nature conservation legislation. The replies are currently being analysed, and a full report on the consultation will be available in autumn 2015. The publication of a European Commission report on the results of the Fitness Check is expected in early 2016.